UNDATED (WJON News) -- Some central Minnesota veterans are now eligible for VA benefits earlier than expected.

Starting Tuesday, veterans who were exposed to toxins or other hazards during their service can enroll directly in VA health care without having to apply for VA disability compensation benefits first.

This includes anyone who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other combat zone after 9/11, and anyone who did not deploy but was exposed to hazardous materials while in training or on active duty.

Some toxins that apply include burn pits, pesticides, asbestos, x-rays, and nerve agents. The changes are due to an expansion of the PACT Act, which went into effect in 2022.

Failed Celebrity Business Ideas

Stacker compiled a comprehensive list of 20 celebrity businesses that failed within three years.

Gallery Credit: Elena Wiedlin

LOOK: 19 Black historical figures you probably didn't learn about in class

As more states add bans on teaching Black history in classrooms across America, Stacker highlighted 19 underrepresented trailblazers to keep in mind.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

More From 98.1 Minnesota's New Country